West Ham could deploy Declan Rice in defence if Aaron Cresswell is not fit for Sunday’s Premier League game at Burnley, though the team will miss the England international’s influence in midfield, manager David Moyes said.
Fourth-placed West Ham are facing a defensive injury crisis with Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and Kurt Zouma (hamstring) out with long-term problems, while Ben Johnson and Ryan Fredericks are also sidelined.
Moyes is expected to take a late call on Cresswell, who is back in training following a back injury, but did not rule out playing Rice in a back three as he did during the win over Chelsea last weekend.
“We certainly lose something in midfield, but maybe we might have more midfield players than we do defenders at the moment, so Declan’s certainly a consideration for that and he can play there as well,” Moyes told reporters.
Rice has excelled this season in protecting West Ham’s defence but has also shown an eye for goal, with three in all competitions so far, prompting Moyes to say the London club would back him in his quest for a few more.
However, Moyes added that Rice could contribute even in a deeper role.
“He would give us a lot of pluses if we play him at the back, we would build better,” Moyes added.”I think we did it last year at Tottenham and we missed him in midfield, so wherever Declan plays he’s really important.”